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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

SPACEX TEST FIRES ITS FALCON HEAVY ROCKET FOR THE FIRST TIME

• Wired

Perched atop what CEO Elon Musk claims will be the most powerful lift vehicle in the world is the billionaire's Tesla Roadster, which will launch toward a Mars elliptical orbit on the Falcon Heavy's upcoming maiden flight.

The firing lasted a whopping 12 seconds, creating a mountain range of exhaust plumes that surrounded the facility and rattled the space coast with over 5 million pounds of thrust power. A loud rumbling lasted most of the firing, capped by a giant boom.

SpaceX rolled out the Falcon Heavy to Launch Complex 39A earlier this month in advance of the test fire, amidst reports that SpaceX's previous satellite delivery, Zuma, may have not made it to orbit. (The Air Force has since confirmed that the company is not responsible.) The Falcon Heavy remained at 39A over the last two weeks, as SpaceX planned and then pushed back the test, day by day.

First, sensors picked up an issue with ground equipment during a dress rehearsal. Then further delays pushed the static fire to January 19, but SpaceX competitor ULA first had to launch a mission for the Air Force from a nearby pad at Cape Canaveral. When that launch was scrubbed, SpaceX was pushed and then delayed again due to the government shutdown. No launch providers can operate at the Cape without personnel and assistance from the Air Force's 45th Space Wing—who finally returned to work after after President Trump signed a bill on Monday ending the government shutdown. Soon after, sources confirmed that SpaceX would run a full wet dress rehearsal on Wednesday at pad 39A followed by a static fire of the Falcon Heavy.

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